Rajasthan has been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations, all over the world. You’d find lots of things to do in Jaipur, a very prominent city in Rajasthan is also known as the Pink city because of the beautiful architectural buildings and monuments that are built in a beautiful Jaipuri pink colour.
The pink city is easily accessible from various cities. The journey by road from Delhi to Jaipur would take you about 5 hours as you travel over 277 kilometers via the National Highway. Other ways to travel from Delhi to Jaipur would be to take a flight or a train from Delhi to Jaipur. If you’re travelling to Jaipur from Mumbai or Bangalore, it would make sense to travel by air or take the train. When you’re there, here are 6 unconventional things to do in Jaipur:
1) Watch the sunset at Surya Mandir (Sun Temple)
Surya Mandir is one spot that does not make it tourist itineraries and that’s exactly why you should be heading here. Located at a distance of about 2.5 kilometers from the centre of Jaipur, this mandir (temple) is a part of the greater Galta Ji temple which is also known as the monkey temple. Reaching the temple takes about a 15 mins. walk from Surajpol Bazaar.
Visit the Galta Ji temple first and then head to Surya Mandir to get a beautiful panoramic view of Jaipur as the sun paints the city in shades of orange at sunset.
This photo of Monkey Temple (Galta Ji) is courtesy of TripAdvisor
2) Understand astronomy at Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar is a monument in Jaipur named after the Sanskrit words ‘yantra’ meaning instruments and ‘mantra’ meaning formula. The monument is no regular architectural building but has a set of nineteen unique astronomical monuments that were built by a Rajput king from local stone and marble. Each astronomical instrument has a scale that is marked on the inner lining of the instrument and can be read easily.
The monument has the world’s largest sundial which also happens to be a UNESCO Heritage Site. The best time to visit Jantar Mantar would be around afternoon so that you can easily interpret the readings of each instrument as the Sun is directly above the monuments at this time. The monument is open for visitors from 9 am to 4:30 pm, throughout the week. If you’re someone who has a keen interest in ancient structures and an understanding of astronomy, Jantar Mantar is definitely the place for you.
3) Watch the light show at Amber Fort
Amber Fort, located in Jaipur’s northern region, is one of the most important fortifications and dates back to the 16th Century. The Amber Fort is a grand combination of Hindu and Mughal artistic styles and was constructed with red-white sandstone in 1592 by one of Emperor Akbar’s earliest generals.
The Fort is open to visitors from 8am to 7:30pm and you would have to pay Rs.200/- as the entrance fee. Amber fort also hosts a light show every evening between 6:30pm to 7:30pm that throws light (literally) on the great history that lies behind Jaipur. The light show is one of the must things to do in Jaipur!
4) Get enchanted by the beauty of Sheesh Mahal
Sheesh Mahal or the magnificent mirror palace as it is fondly called is located within the premises of the Amber Fort. The logic behind building this palace was its ability to capture heat and provide warmth to the then King and his family in the harsh winters. Built on 40 pillars, the whole palace is laden with innumerable pieces of glass.
The most beautiful spectacle in the palace is when a single-lit candle is reflected in every piece of glass, across the palace. This single candle can light up the whole palace and even tourists’ hearts when they visit the palace. An amalgamation of beauty and scientific understanding, the Sheesh Mahal can be accessed through Amber fort itself. The entry point of Ganesh Pol leads you to the Jai Mandir, inside which lies the Sheesh Mahal.
5) Experience hospitality the Jaipur way at Chokhi Dhani
With the increasing obsession with modernization, Chokhi Dhani is the place for you if you love traditional and ancient sites. Built in 1990, Chokhi Dhani is a concept village that aims at retaining the old Rajasthani culture and the rural ways of life. Thousands of foreign nationals, as well as Indian tourists, flock to Chokhi Dhani to experience what they call, hospitality at its best.
The staff at the reception counters to the servers in the dining halls are all warm as the shining sun itself. You would be transported to a tiny new world in itself when you enter Chokhi Dhani as the place offers various amusement activities ranging from camel rides to a boat ride within the Chokhi Dhani village. If this was not enough, the village also hosts live performances by professional folk dancers.
The best is yet to come! The dining halls at Chokhi Dhani serve the best traditional food and the dining concept here is that of ‘Manuhaar’ which means, eating to your heart’s delight. After eating a hearty meal, you can take a walk around the handicraft stalls selling Rajasthani souvenirs and pick up some of these articles for your loved ones back home. Located at Miles Tonk Road, you can visit Chokhi Dhani between 5 pm to 11 pm, try visiting on weekdays so you can avoid too much crowd and can enjoy the ambiance of the mock-village.
6) Shop from the famous Johari Bazar
As the name already suggests, Johari Bazar is primarily a jewelry market. All the shops and stalls at Johari bazaar are painted in a Jaipuri pink colour, living up to the Pink city’s reputation. You will find unique jewelry designs and shops selling Meenakari and Kundan jewelry. Meenakari jewelry is a mix of Lahori and Jaipuri artistic styles as this art style was taught by the Lahori artisans to the Rajasthani artists.
Kundan jewelry is a festival favourite that is usually also adorned by brides on their wedding day. You can also buy some traditional bandhni material from the Johari Bazar.
Jaipur has always been a tourist favourite because of its unique monuments and architectural style. Attracting visitors from across the globe for its culture, diversity and warm-heartedness, this Rajasthani town can easily be called the heart of Indian tourism.
Which is your favourite tourist spot in Jaipur? Let me know in the comments below!